Ahh, nice hot showers, one of the many benefits of owning an RV. Not to mention not having to share said shower with hundreds of other campers in a communal campground bathroom. But what happens when the water pressure in your RV dips down so far that even washing your hands becomes difficult? There are many causes of water pressure problems in an RV, and you will want to go step-by-step to find the source of the problem in order to fix it. Here’s what to do with low water pressure when you’re out camping in your RV.
While blasting as much pressure as possible through the RV may seem like a great idea for the best showers, it can actually cause some serious issues. Remember when you were a kid, and you over filled a water balloon? It would burst and water would go everywhere. The same can happen to the plumbing inside of an RV if the pressure is too high. Since all manufactures are different, you will want to consult with your owner’s manual to be sure of what the maximum pressure should be. A general rule of thumb however, is around 50 to 60 psi. Make sure you have a pressure gauge in your arsenal of RV tools so that you can test out any inlet you might want to use. If the pressure is too high, then you’ll want to add in a pressure regulator at the spigot to keep that pressure out of your hose and RV.
Finding the Problem
Brush off your detective skills and get ready to follow some clues! Going over your RV when the water pressure is low is the only way to find out what the problem is. Most of the time it’s a pretty easy and simple fix, so don’t worry too much just yet! Let’s take a look at some of the things that can cause water pressure issues.
Campground water pressure is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. You could get a spigot with nothing but a drizzle, or end up with something blasting out 100+ psi that’s going to wreak havoc on your RV’s plumbing. Determining the pressure can be done with a water pressure gauge. As stated above, if the pressure is too high, you need to restrict the water flow. If it’s too low, then you will want to add in a high flow regulator. This regulator will actually help to increase the flow of water into the RV while still protecting against high pressure in the event that something changes. This high flow regulator by Valterra is lead free, which not only conforms to some of the states’ laws, but it also ensures that you’re not adding any extra lead into your drinking water. If the water pressure is still too low, your other option is to fill your fresh water tank and run the pump instead. This may take a while to fill, but the end result will be better pressure.
If the water pressure coming in is not the problem, your next step will be ruling out the hose that brings the water into the RV. Check over the entire hose for kinks, cracks, and leaks. Any of these will reduce the water pressure before it gets to the RV. If the hose itself is in good condition, take it off at both ends and check for any screen filters. These filters help to keep sediment and other debris out of the RV. If these sediments get backed up at the screen, it can clog everything up and restrict the water flow through the hose. The same goes for any regulators or anything else you may have hooked up outside as well.
If you have a water filter, whether outside of the RV or under the kitchen sink, this is the next place you’ll want to check for sources of the problem. Just the same as the screen filters in the hose, as water filters get filled up with gunk, they no longer allow water to run through. If this is the issue, the good thing is that you know the filter is working correctly, and that all that sludge in there is something you didn’t consume! Changing out your water filter will open that back up and allow for proper water flow through the line.
Check the Valves
There are a few valves outside that you can check next to ensure the water isn’t being diverted in the wrong direction. Many RVs will have valves that need to be switched between filling the fresh water tank and using the water inlet. Ensure this valve is not turned the wrong way and set to fill the tank, because your water is then going in there and not into the pipes of your RV. Some will also have a valve for flushing the black tank. Make sure this is not open and that you’re not just sending the water into the black tank.
Check the Pump
If you’re using your fresh tank instead of the direct source and you’re experiencing low water pressure, check your pump. Make sure it’s working first off. Check it for clogs or any malfunctions. If it’s not working, you may need to have the pump serviced or replaced.
Pinpoint the Exact Spot
If none of the above issues seem to be the cause of the problem, the issue is somewhere inside of the RV. The next step is to narrow down where. The best way to do this is to figure out exactly where the pressure drops by checking the faucets, starting with the one closest to the inlet. If the closest faucet does not have pressure then you know the problem is somewhere between the water inlet and that faucet. Check the screen on the faucet itself. This area can also get clogged up and affect the rest of the system. If the first faucet has pressure, move on to the next. Once you find where the pressure drops, you know that the problem is between that one and the one before it. Once you’ve pinpointed where the issue is, you can then begin to inspect the plumbing and find where the restriction is.
Water pressure is important to ensure that all your fixtures work properly. If you don’t know what to do with low water pressure it can make camping a drag! Now that you have your super sleuth skills sharpened, you should be able to track down the issue the next time it pops up on you!